Period blood isn’t always red. It can range from light pink to dark blackish-brown.
You probably know what to expect during your period: how long it will last, when it’ll be the heaviest, and which days you’ll feel the worst. So when you spot something abnormal, such as brown blood or dark-brown blood, you may be concerned.
According to experts, Brown period blood usually isn’t a cause for concern, but if it shows up in between your periods or with other symptoms like a foul smell, this may be a sign of a medical issue.
Here’s what you need to know about why your period blood is brown and when you need to see a doctor.
Brown period blood can be normal
We usually think of blood as bright red, but “blood becomes darker when it has time to oxidize,” says Christine Greves, MD, a gynecologist at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies.
This is because the hemoglobin in your blood turns brown when it’s exposed to oxygen – and it can happen when blood stays in your uterus for a long period of time.
“It is basically blood that is not as ‘fresh,'” Greves says. This usually isn’t any cause for concern.
READ ALSO: Nigerian Girls Who Suffered From Period Poverty Describe Their Horrible Experiences
Here are a few normal reasons why you might see brown period blood:
There are also a few other non-period related reasons why you may be experiencing brown blood flow:
When brown period blood may be a cause for concern
When brown blood shows up in between your periods, it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
PCOS occurs when your body produces too much testosterone, making your ovaries grow larger and develop abnormal growths.
PCOS can also stop your ovaries from releasing eggs. When this happens, your uterus builds up its normal lining, but then doesn’t shed it through the usual process of your period. Instead, you may have especially light periods and see bleeding in between periods with old, brown blood or discharge.
In rare cases, brown discharge or blood can be a sign of cervical cancer, but this discharge usually has a foul smell.
Brown blood usually isn’t a cause for concern, but Greves advises that you should call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms along with brown blood:
READ ALSO: Certified OB-GYN Points Out 7 Reasons Why Your Period Might Be Suddenly Heavy
It’s normal to see brown blood during your period, particularly at the beginning or end of your cycle. But if you have abnormal symptoms along with brown blood, or see it in between periods, reach out to your doctor to check if you have an underlying medical issue.
“Just because brown blood is not uncommon, it doesn’t mean that it should be ignored,” Greves says.
Tags: Blood, Brown period blood, Christine Greves, Women
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